Friday, February 1, 2013

Strawberry Oat Bars with Jam

Written by the fabulous Kim, The Healthy Engineer.

The need for this recipe in my house all started because of the man (my husband) and the desire to start dabbling in healthy sweet snacks and desserts.  We try to stay away from processed foods, so there is a need for a healthy dessert for the times we want something sweet and fruit won't cut it.  This recipe stood out to me because she said it tastes like a nutrigrain bar.  DONE.  I love those things and haven't had one in ages.  I also liked how easy it seemed (and is) to make.

This recipe originated from Oh She Glows, a vegan blog.  I was tempted to make the vegan version, however I don't want to use earth balance, I prefer to use an organic butter in my cooking.  If you would like a vegan version, just use the same amount of Earth Balance.  Also, I took one shortcut - I went with the pre-made jam instead of making it myself.  I do want to make these with the homemade jam one day.  I also made another substitution - for Kamut flour - because I couldn't find it anywhere.

Servings: 6-10


Ingredients
For Oat Base
  • 1.5 cups regular oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Bob's red mill all purpose baking flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea sald
  • 1/2 cup Succanat sugar (can use brown sugar)
  • 1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds + 4 tbsp warm water, mixed)
  • 1/2 cup organic unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
For Strawberry Jam, use 1 cup pre-made or the ingredients below
  • 2 1/4 cup chopped strawberries chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar, to taste
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a pan with parchment paper.  I used a 2 qt rectangular pan, but a square pan can be used.  
  2. To make the strawberry jam, in a medium sized pot add the chopped strawberries and sugar.  Heat over low until the strawberries begin to sweat and it gets a bit watery.  Once it heats through, add in the chia seeds and stir well.  Bring to a boil and simmer over low to medium heat for at least 10 minutes.  Once it has thickened a bit, remove from heat and cool 5-10 min.  You may add arrowroot powder to thicken if desired.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the chia egg and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the oat base dry ingredients (oats, flour, sucanat or brown sugar, baking soda, and salt).  In a small bowl mix the oat base wet ingredients (melted butter or earth balance, maple syrup, almond milk, and chia) and stir well.
  5. Reserve 1/2 cup of the dry oat base mixture in a separate bowl.
  6. Mix the large portion of dry oat base to the wet oat base and mix well.  Pour the oat mixture into the pan and press down with fingers.  A pastry roller can be used to smooth if necessary.  
  7. Pour the strawberry mixture or jam on top of the oats and smooth out.  Sprinkle on the reserved 1/2 cup of oat mixture.  
  8. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.  Allow to fully cool 30-40 minutes before gently removing from pan.  Slice and serve or store :)
I LOVE these.  I will definitely have these in my rotation and try different fruit toppings.  I cannot wait to use the strawberry jam recipe except on apples with cinnamon - that will be amazing too.  These are sweet, but a good substitution for the common breakfast pastry or quick grab recipe you might be using now.  Yes they have sugar in them, but they have a lot of other good things too.  Chia seeds (yes those chia seeds) are really little nutritional powerhouses.  And you get the benefit of making them at home and knowing exactly what you put in them.  

One tip I have for you before you run out for ingredients.  This one is a good one for a trip to a bulk store (like Whole Foods).  I was able to buy the ingredients for very cheap by purchasing only what I need.  I don't bake much and I don't need a whole bag of sucanat, but the 1/2 cup I needed was only $0.86.  The oats were a dollar and the whole wheat flour (I already had the all purpose at home) was another dollar.  Everything else is a standard thing at my house, so even if I had to buy more jam or fruit, it would be only another few dollars.  Healthy and economical?  Good deal.

Hope you enjoy these delicious bars!!  

Let me know if you try them out :)

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